Chad Grayson

2023: Refinement, not Revolution

photo credit: Morris Kronringer on Unsplash

               The first day of the year is always a time for reflection, at least for me. Not for everyone. For some, it’s a time to recover from a hangover, but I digress. It’s my tradition to take a walk every January 1st and look back on the year that’s just passed and set some expectations/goals for the year to come. So, I did that this morning.

               And really, last year felt like a big year. And it was, at least productivity wise. I wrote 371,000 words (I swear this is the last time I will mention this). I managed to do this while keeping up with my house maintenance, and not sacrificing my personal relationships. Yet, while I did meet this goal, I had the sense at the end of the year that I’d let myself down.

               I had planned to release three books this year. I only managed to put out 1. The main reason was that, while I was writing a lot, I got very little editing done. So, I have two novels right now that are in the editing stage, and I have found myself stuck at how to get them through to the end. That’s a goal for next year, work more editing time into my schedule. I don’t want to sacrifice any drafting time for that, but I need to come up with a solution. I would like to put three books out this year. I think it’s doable.  

               As far as my production schedule goes, I have been writing 3000 words four days a week, meaning I was producing 12,000 words in any given week. I managed this for as long as I did, but eventually started getting severely burned out, leading to me needing to take the entire month of December off. Now, I don’t really want to slow down my production of new words, but 3000 words a session is a lot. So, this year, I’m going to write 2000 words a session, but do it five days a week. This will mean I’m slowing down a little but not by much, and I think I will find this pace much more sustainable. Last year I set myself the goal of writing 350,000 words, but I didn’t set that goal until (I think) May, so most of the words were generated in about six months. I did it, but it took a lot out of me. This year, I want to set the goal of writing 400,000 words, but I’m giving myself 11 months to do it. More words, at a more manageable pace. I’m probably going to give myself December off again next year, but we’ll see.

               I proved to myself I could write a lot, and I intend to keep doing it, but I don’t have to hit a wall again. I’d like to avoid that. I would also like to post a weekly blog update, as well as continue putting out my monthly newsletter. Sundays right now look like a good day to get a blog post written. They won’t all be long and require hours of work. I spoke to a blogging consultant this year and he had some ideas about expanding my reach, most of which entail picking an area of expertise to explore and staying on theme. It was good advice, but I call this blog The Random Avenger for a reason, so I will probably just keep blogging about anything that runs across my mind and if people find it, great! If not, I have no illusions that I will make a million dollars blogging. I consider my blog kind of bonus content. I enjoy writing it, and sometimes people interact and that’s great. But I’m not going to laser focus on a topic and become an expert because, honestly, that feels like a lot of effort, and also, it’s just not me.

               As far as everything else goes, I don’t really feel like my life needs an overhaul right now, so any goals I have are going to be minor refinements of what I’m already doing.  I would like to be more consistent about getting up early so I’m not rushing through my day. I would like to be more disciplined about strength training and guitar practice. These are things I’m already doing; I just want to do them more consistently.

               So, this new year is not a revolution, it’s a refinement. I have a lot going on between my writing career, my job at the Cottonwood Community Library, and my responsibilities to my kids and grandkids and my parents. I have fulfilling work of several varieties and interesting (to me) hobbies. Also, I have a new boyfriend and I would like not to lose track of him in everything that is going on. My life is full, and I am grateful for that fact, and aware of the responsibility it entails.

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